Resources and Solutions
UA Library-Licensed eBooks
Did you know that the UA Library routinely purchases electronic textbooks for students to use for free in lieu of purchasing a printed text? And that in some cases, students can even download entire ebooks and keep them forever? This is easily the most painless method of reducing textbook costs in that you can use your desired text without deferring the cost to your students. Licensing terms vary widely, but you can work with a library liaison for your discipline to see if your textbook is available in this format and the number of seats available.
Open Educational Resources
Open Educational Resources, or OER, are free for anyone in the world to download or read online. They’re either in the public domain or have a license (usually a Creative Commons license) that allows them to be freely shared, copied, and modified. Several databases exist to locate OER, including the internationally-regarded MERLOT Collection (https://www.merlot.org/ ◥ ) for peer-reviewed learning objects, and Cool4Ed (http://www.cool4ed.org/ ◥ ) that provides the option to enter an ISBN of an expensive textbook and see a curated list of free alternatives. The OpenStax CNX (https://cnx.org/ ◥ ) offers fully open textbooks, as well as instructor materials and test banks.
With the plethora of open educational resources available, you may feel overwhelmed seeking out quality materials to use in your course. In addition to expert help from your library liaison (http://new.library.arizona.edu/about/contact/your-librarian ◥ ), you are free to contact the UA’s Open Education Librarian, Cheryl Cuillier, for help finding OER for your classes. You can reach Cheryl at (520) 310-9874 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In some cases, your desired textbook may not be available as a licensed ebook or OER. Inclusive Access serves as an alternative delivery mechanism that reduces the cost of digital textbooks from commercial publishers. The UA BookStores work to negotiate significant discounts on the digital textbooks, which are directly accessed from D2L on the first day of class. Students have until the drop/add date of the course to opt out of purchasing the content. If they don’t opt out, it’s automatically charged to their Bursar’s accounts. For an Inclusive Access FAQ, see http://shop.arizona.edu/textbooks/Inclusive.asp ◥ .
Process and Support
So what is the process like for selecting an affordable learning solution for a UA Online class? Who should UA Online faculty work with?
Your Instructional Designer
As you begin your course design and development, let your instructional designer know that you are interested in lessening or eliminating the cost of the textbook and materials in your course. They will assist you in finding alternative resources and can connect you to other partners around campus.
Library liaisons are assigned by discipline and can assist with locating OER, library-licensed books, as well as articles and book chapters. They can even provide you with links to the materials that can be embedded directly into D2L. Find your library liaision at http://new.library.arizona.edu/about/contact/your-librarian ◥ .
Working with the BookStores
If you are looking to provide a discount to students on a digital version of your textbook, you can work with the UA BookStores to see if your textbook can be a part of the Inclusive Access program. In order to give time for the UA BookStores to negotiate the price with the publisher, the bookstore should be notified in the beginning of March for Summer and Fall classes, and the beginning of September for Spring courses.